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tv   [untitled]    January 21, 2011 12:30am-1:00am PST

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temperature of 70 degrees to have, so in the cold season, you did not have a lot of them, but in the summer months, we have a lot of complaints. we recommend to the tenant not to remove any item from the room until after the treatment. in some cases, it might result in relocation of the tenant. we do conduct inspections in a timely manner. if there is no compliance during the reinspection, there is a likelihood we will issue citations. we will go to the -- through the abatement process. usually, we may get compliance. we have two different types of hearings. one for the abatement conference to give you more time to find out why you have not complied,
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and when there is no compliance, we should add up. taking care of the problem, or you will run the risk of receiving an order to vacate. what that means is that this person typically will be evicted from the room. in many cases, we try not to -- we want to house people. we do not want to kick them out into the street, so we try to work with property management to make sure that we get compliance. once dph is done -- a thick over the past four or five years -- this came back -- came from the fact that back in probably the early 2000, when i came back to
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a hotel room, i found there was an individual in the room where there was no elevator, and the plumbing facilities were not functioning, and i said that i wanted to see it. he said he was taking care of it, and i said i wanted to see it. so we went, and the patron was in a wheelchair. the room was completely cluttered, and the person could not move around. we went to the back room that he had -- he had a private bathroom, all right, but lo and behold, his health was being used -- it was a cesspool. and i said that we could not tolerate this. what happened at that time was i looked at the walls, and there were cards from the medical
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provider and also the doctor, so i pick those up, took the telephone number, and i called the nurse. he said he was just there, and i asked if he saw the condition of the room. i told him to give me the telephone number of the doctor he was working with, so i called the doctor and asked if he had seen the room. he said no, and i said to the news report what she saw? he said no, and i said that he needed to go and see it. i drove straight to my manager and report of the case, and we took it on right away. we strongly felt that we cannot allow any human being to live under those conditions. as a result of that, i got a lot of cdh's together, and i asked what we could do to provide more humane services.
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as a result of that, we came up with a group of city agencies to provide early intervention for at-risk clients that live in some of these hotels and apartments. as such, today, we have referrals. when my inspectors run into specific problems, the issue a referral to aps. they provide early intervention. if they do not succeed but they think it is a mental health issue, they will kick it theycbhs, but usually -- ticket to -- kick it ti cbhs, but usually, they are very successful. we have been able to do that,
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but there are at times funding constraints. a decrease in a shelter and bedbug complaints. we have been providing out reach upon request to agencies and organizations. we have developed a handbook of hotels and shelters. like i said earlier, in 2006, we provided a symposium on how to control bedbugs in san francisco. in 2007, we created an interagency group to provide for at risk tenants. in 2009, we provided a very comprehensive sro and hotel and apartment symposium. that was a collaboration of all city agencies and fire departments, and we got everybody together.
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we're very proud of what we are doing in the city. we wish we could do more. but we do have challenges. some of the challenges include issues with hoarding or cluttering, tenants unable to take care of stuff. need to inspect storage or warehouses. the need to respect a used furniture in our warehouses, and i believe to control what tenants bring into their rooms. we do have trained operators and hotel managers. i would say that many of the hotels and apartment complexes -- they are all very educated about the issue now, and they are taking great steps towards eradicating, but we still have -- with the issue of pest control, not all pest control
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companies know how to deal with bedbugs. fortunately for san francisco, the department of agriculture is under dph now, and the people controlling pesticide regulation work with us. this year, i intend to have the meeting with all the pest control company is licensed to do business in san francisco to address this very issue. . dbi, we work very well together. if they received complaints, specifically with bedbugs, they refer you to us, but if they are in a specific location, and the complaint was about bedbugs and other issues, they just handle it, so i would say we are doing our very best, but i'm grateful -- i'm confident that we can do better. thank you, commissioners. commissioner murphy: thank you
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very much. commissioner walker. commissioner walker: thank you very much for enlightening us about this. it sounds like we have the issue of dealing with the room and the personal items in the process of to do them together. >> yes. commissioner walker: who assists with that as far as it folks living in these buildings cannot really deal with this themselves? do we have a program for assisting tenants with their personal items? >> the -- if the individual is capable to prepare the rooms themselves, we refer them to aps. again, it depends if they are qualified for the type of services they provide. if they have a very high income, the likelihood that aps would
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not send anyone else -- >> [inaudible] >> she said there is also services you can hire, but i think the school pays for it. commissioner walker: who pays for it is one question, but i just want to make sure there is support for helping people with their personal items. >> yes, there are companies with in san francisco that can provide such services by assisting in preparing the room package. >> at what point is it dealt with room by room, and at what point do you expanded to an area of the building or to the building itself? >> usually -- there are two steps. just like the dbi and dph, we
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do schedule room to room inspections, but for complaints, we require that the room is the -- that is affected be inspected. if there are more rooms that are invested, they need to provide treatment for all the rooms. we need -- we recommend on a monthly basis that the hotel operators -- they do provide a pest control service. we expect the property management companies to instruct their pest control operators to routinely, when there are providing the services, to
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routinely inspect the rooms for bedbugs, and if they find bedbugs, to provide treatment. we also require them to have a log of all the complaints that tenants lodge to the front desk, and they have to have that list, that log available upon request. >> you mentioned that if tenants are shown to be responsible for not dealing with their personal items, they can be evicted. what is the enforcement capability if the building owner does not assist in complying? >> unfortunately, the building owners tend to argue that when the room was provided, there were no bedbugs. secondly, the their contract
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does not include having -- helping the tenants to clean their rooms to prepare the room for treatment. however, we are impressing upon the hotel -- especially hotel operators and apartment owners, too, especially when a client cannot do that for themselves, to do their very best to assist them. we have seen cases where that has been done, and in some cases, the property owners do not want to cooperate. >> you have mentioned the 14-day re-treatment, but i've heard also there is an incubation time that is a lot longer so that eggs actually can be there 18 months -- as long as 18 months,
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and then appear. >> no, that is the adult. the adult bedbug is known to live up to 18 months without blood. commissioner walker: so they can just hibernate? >> yes. commissioner walker: have you all worked with dpw? i see all the time mattresses in alice in front of buildings full of bedbugs with no plastic are rounded -- around it, and that seems to be a problem to me because people pick stuff up and carry it in. >> it is a huge problem. that is one of our challenges, and i think an area that we need to focus on this coming year. but unfortunately, if you look at the workload of our inspectors -- for example, dph has almost 800 hotels that only
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two inspectors are responsible for, it is difficult to police with the hotel operators do. but when we receive complaints, we do respond. it is unfortunate that some of the hotel operators are not paying enough attention to this issue because we have found issues in some hotels when they knowingly remove items from and infested room that they are treating, and they just dump it inside the dumpster on the sidewalk, and they know very well that people will try to salvage whatever they can, and i think it is inappropriate. thank you. she is reminding me that we also have a new piece of legislation
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that just went into effect. for owners that are not compliant, they actually find them almost $1,000 for each violation, so that is one tool that is available to us to use, but we want to be sure that there is enough corporation -- cooperation because there are still key issues when it comes to who is going to pay for it. commissioner mar: again, thank you very much for the report. it is very informational. i had some questions. the amount of money you mentioned that the department has for community-based organizations to help tenants to comply if they have a problem -- it seems like a very small
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amount of money, and i know we are under budget constraints, but how fast is the, those funds exhausted? do you have an idea? are those funds being used? do people know about it? is it getting exhausted very fast in terms of year? that is $63,000 a year, i assume. >> i do not really manage the fund, but we have -- anyway. the funds are available to use. it is managed by and the community-based organizations. they provide our reach. they actually do know some of the people that need help, and i think what i'll probably instruct my inspectors later on is that when they find cases to aps, if they know that is not a
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client that will be able to comply, that may need help, that they refer them to a community- based organization who does this. we have the central city collaborative, and those who have permission. i think that is an improvement. >> it is hard to know whether it is sufficient or insufficient if we do not know how it is being used. my second question is -- commissioner walker: maybe we get here from the sro collaborative at some point. commissioner mar: my second question is for the regulations you have passing out to the tenants. are those in multiple languages? >> yes, they are. commissioner mar: ok, thank you. commissioner hechanova: thank you for your presentation.
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it was very insightful. it seems like infestation is indiscriminate because it is both public and private sectors of the hotel industry and even on to private homes. >> yes. commissioner mar: it seems to me that compliance might be always vulnerable based on whether they received notification of violation on the public category of the hotel room, that it only serves as an action item, meaning that they need to resolve that category of compliance. but it also makes the compliants boulder will based on the infestation. they might be able to resolve the issue, and within another three days or four weeks after they've met the condition of
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compliance, there is another infestation. there seems to be this ongoing cycle. is there a way to have some category of measuring or metric of effectiveness? and is it issues of behavioral modification on the tenants, or it seems as if the physical building can stay the same, but the infestation becomes more of a health issue, that is brought in on the re-infestation front. >> that is true. it is a combination of all that was mentioned, but the challenge is it's the treatment is not effective at the onset, meaning the room is not well prepared, there are gaps in terms of what they were supposed to do that it did not do, they can play
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dormant for a very long time, and the eggs in the crevices, of course, it will be infected. bedbugs are not discriminant. you may say in a five-star hotel. if i'm living in a place with bedbugs, they can hitchhike in my suitcase, and when i'm undressing or removing -- and seeing my belongings, something might walk out of my suitcase, so it is a very huge challenge. that is why bedbugs are one of the most difficult tests of this modern age, to eradicate bugs. if you do a very good job, followed the protocol, you can eliminate bedbugs. >> to totally eliminate sounds a real lofty goal because it has been around for centuries. >> yes, but i can tell you that
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for tenants that live in these buildings, they want to completely eradicate it. they do not want to hear that you are controlling it. they want you to take care of it. that is why we need to be patient with the operators, and we asked them to cooperate, and we need tenants to cooperate with building operators, and most importantly, the press control operators need to work closely with the tenants and building managers to make sure that they provide very effective services. i hate to tell you this, but if -- we need to spend more time with the pest control system. i do not want to say any more publicly. commissioner walker: i really would love to hear from our housing division of our how we interface as well as maybe wellsro -- maybe the sro
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collaborative briefly. do we require inspections separate from the provider of the eradication, or are they the same person? is the person who comes in to inspect for bedbugs the same person who gets rid of them? or is it separate? >> our inspectors would inspect and go in and find the problem, but the pest control company is the one that provides the services on a monthly basis. >> but if the health inspector or somebody is suspicious that there is bedbugs, do we call in the press control person to verify? >> no, that is the responsibility of the property owner. >> but we require that? i'm trying to figure out enforcement and -- >> i see. we instruct the building owner who has the ultimate responsibility to employ the services of a license pest
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control operators. commissioner walker: ok, and maybe we can hear from -- >> i have a question. i guess the question that i have this what are the classifications here? >> dph inspectors. >> i know that, like, barbara garcia is not doing it, but there are other city employees -- >> i am referring to environmental health staff. those that are licensed by the states that have the authority to inspect licensed facilities within each county. >> do they have to have certifications to do this? >> yes, they do. >> whenever you refer to the protective services agency, are the the state investigators the ones that have the ability to go into people's homes?
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aps goes into folks' homes. do you know who does that? investigators? >> [unintelligible] >> do you know if there is state investigators that do that? they are the ones that i actually stand that ago -- >> i think the social workers are licensed to do that. commissioner murphy: thank you. i have a couple more questions. this report is dated 2006, and there is an update in 2008. do you have anything more recent? >> no, the update that i normally have, which you do not have a copy of it -- whenever i have an update, it is written in red.
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the last one i have is 2008. >> i remember a couple of months ago, the board of supervisors passed an ordinance on this a bedbug issue. i think avalos was the one who proposed it. have we done any studies on how many buildings are affected in the city. >> we need the overhead. thank you. >> this is the whole city complaints that we have received. in 2008, you can see that the
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number jumped a little higher. in 2009, we have 576. commissioner murphy: statistics are showing us that it is getting worse. >> these are actual complaints of violations. the problem is getting worse. in 2010, we had a total of about 431, and i was attributing this to the fact that the population are getting more educated, and therefore, people know now what bedbugs are when they are bitten. we are responding to the complaints. commissioner murphy: right now, it is the health department and forcing? >> yes, we are --
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commissioner murphy: what about the department of the environment? are they involved? >> they are not involved, as far as i know, with regulating bedbugs in any licensed facilities. we do not have the capacity or demand power. >> they are involved with dust and lead. for me, i have a problem with the enforcement and. -- enforcement end. i do not think we are properly trained or educated to do inspections on bedbugs. that is just my opinion. i have some more questions, but i would like to hear public comment. i do not know if i'm trying to reinvent the wheel here. maybe we need to get more money to enforce.
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>> thank you, commissioner. >> thank you, doctor. commissioner walker: can we hear from the to the housing initiative about our efforts and the sro collaborative briefly? just to point out that they have -- how many inspectors do you have? two. as is often the case, we are the eyes out in the world with our programs and our employees, so thank you. commissioner murphy: commissioner walter, we will have questions for staff. >> thank you, chief housing inspector. the issue of bedbugs has been in the san francisco housing code for the last 30 years. it appears in chapter 10, which is a regurgitation of state law, which defines what a substandard building is, and it is also
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chapter 13 of the housing code. it is referred to as insect infection, vermin, and bedbugs. all that has been in that code for many years, probably since it separated from the health code back in the early 1960's, and when the division was separated in the early 1970's or actually even before that -- commissioner murphy: can i ask a question? >> dealing with that issue prior. commissioner murphy: when was that code? >> the housing code became a standalone code in 1963. that is when the current san francisco housing code came to be, approximately the time. the language having to do with bedbugs or insect infestation was in that code, and as you have heard, and i want to thank the doctor for being here today and giving an excellent and giving an excellent presentation on things we have